Mattie D’s ROVAL News And Notes

Matt DiBenedetto

DIBENEDETTO BY THE NUMBERS: With the ROVAL’s debut in 2018’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule, DiBenedetto started the event from 28th and drove to a 13th-place finish. The 2019 season road course events have been some of DiBenedetto’s best races of the year with him earning a fourth-place finish at Sonoma Raceway in June (a career-best finish at the time) while Watkins Glen International say DiBenedetto finish sixth in August.

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From the Driver’s Seat:

Matt DiBenedetto: “Last year was obviously our first year racing the ROVAL and the main challenge I remember was passing, so the addition of the new backstretch chicane to this year’s course will create a hard braking zone that could make another passing opportunity, which will make it more fun as well in my opinion. Last year we were missing some braking zones in the course, and braking zones turn into passing zones on road courses, so this will allow for us to hopefully have a good zone for that now. The ROVAL is a lot different than the other two road courses we run with Sonoma and Watkins Glen. Of course, we turn right and left on them all, but the ROVAL is very different from them both. We have some high-speed sections of the ROVAL in the NASCAR Turns 3 and 4, but it’s mostly a lot of second gear low-speed stuff throughout the infield and the chicanes. Last year, that backstretch chicane was a high-speed third-gear deal, but this year it’s going to be a slow second-gear section due to the course change. There’s no room for error at Charlotte on the ROVAL. There’s a lot of crashing opportunities if you mess up, whereas at Sonoma you would simply go off course, at the ROVAL if something happens, you crash. Your approach to the ROVAL is different, your risk versus reward is a lot different if you try and attack certain corners, you can end up wrecked. The ROVAL is just a more treacherous road course since there’s a greater chance of ending your day easier there. I’m looking forward to driving with my feet this weekend since that’s something that I really enjoy.”

From the Pit Box:

Mike Wheeler: “So the ROVAL is still such a new track for everyone involved that no one has their favorite set-up or package worked out 100% yet. Obviously with the backstretch chicane being different, it’s a new animal this year and it’s knocking quite a bit of speed off the cars now making it another big braking zone similar to Turn 1 at Watkins Glen. That chicane is now an extra challenge on the set-up of the car for the weekend since it will affect the brakes even more now. The infield section of the ROVAL is pretty grip-limited the entire time. It’s a very slow-paced cornering section where you never really get the high speeds and you have a couple of areas that you fight for traction a lot, but honesty, Turn 1 through Turn 8 is a slow-paced rhythm section. Going through NASCAR Turns 1 and 2, as well as NASCAR Turns 3 and 4, there’s not really much cornering going on there. You’re not necessarily grip-limited there like you are in other parts of the corner. With the downforce, the tire combination, and the slow exit speeds in the infield section or the chicane, you’re not at the limit of the tire. You still need to worry about platform control and ground clearance, but ultimately, a lot of the cornering sections are just from the chicanes and the infield portion. The backstretch chicane is definitely a tighter chicane than it was last year, so we’ll need better brakes at the ROVAL this year than we had last year due to the bigger braking zones. This weekend’s schedule is back to a three-day schedule of qualifying on Friday, more practice time on Saturday, and racing on Sunday. You want to sit up front as much as you can, but ultimately, execute and have a clean race on Sunday so that you have a car fast enough and durable enough to handle the impact load you see at the ROVAL.”

RACE INFO: The Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (2.28-mile road course) begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 29th. The race will be broadcast live on NBC, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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